It’s Not Grim Up North @ Mill and Brew, Mill Hill

16 Oct 2018

August has Fringe fever and it’s all over the media. Nope, I’m not talking about the hair which sits on your forehead, or ‘bangs’ as those across the pond might say, I’m talking about the Edinburgh Fringe: the world’s largest arts festival.

Every time this rolls around, I think back to 2010, when I spent ten wetter than wet ‘summer’ days, trudging up and down the Mile with my face painted as a bird, handing out flyers nobody wanted. Now, I’m not saying those ten sodden days weren’t some of the best moments of my life, but I haven’t been back to the city since. No, I’m not saying I was put off, it’s just a huge coincidence that the Northernest (sic) place I’ve been to this August is Mill Hill.

Mill Hill Broadway is now home to a brand-spanking new restaurant called Mill and Brew. Its remote-northerly-suburb location might scare some southerners off, but when there’s a chef who’s trained under Jamie Oliver and you can get a smashed avocado for under a tenner, why would you ever say no?

There isn’t anything flashy about Mill and Brew, it’s a simple cafe/restaurant hybrid, with exposed brick, open kitchen and rugged furniture, but don’t let this fool you by any means, the food from chef Aiden is the real deal. There was a BBQ beef brisket burger (£10) with beef cooked so slowly it fell apart like a teenager at a One Direction concert. It was messy, badly hidden in a glazed brioche bun with tomatoes, crispy shallots and lettuce, covered in drippy, smokey-sweet homemade BBQ sauce.

There was smashed beetroot on toast (£7.50) which deserved to be front page news. The beaten vegetable, pink as a pair of embarrassed cheeks, was layered onto two thick slices of award-winning sourdough, sprinkled with perfectly sliced apple and pistachio nuts. It was sneakily brilliant, making any fool forget about mashed up avocado. It could, however, have benefited from some horseradish to give it a little kick (or beet-ing). The truffle mushroom and English muffin (£7.50) tasted strong and powerful, it was enough to make me feel as high as a mountain climber at the top of Ben Nevis, looking as good as truffle cream and melted cheddar cheese could possibly look.

As I said, in comparison to central London, it’s a real steal. Down there, short coffees and small brunches can leave you feeling hungry and ripped off. Here, you can have three dishes for under 30-quid, if you skip a glass or two of the dry Italian white Ca Di Ponti (£18). It was 1pm on a Monday but I didn’t skip them FYI – sorry Mum.

So, basically what I’m saying is: it may be off the beaten track, it may be nine miles from central London, it may only be open during the day, but it’s definitely worth the trip to Mill and Brew. Just take an umbrella and coat – that Northern wind ain’t too kind you know.


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